Hundreds of protesters protesting against Guatemalan lawmakers’ decisions to approve a controversial budget that cut spending on education and health stormed the country’s congressional building on Saturday, setting fire to part of it.
The video on social media shows that a large flame was fired through the flames in the legislative building in Guatemala City when the police used tear gas on protesters.
“We are outraged by poverty, injustice and the way money has been stolen from society,” Rosa de Chavaria, a psychology professor, told the Associated Press.
US PROVIDES HIMANITARY AID FOR $ 17 MILLION AS IOTA DEATH INCREASES
Dissatisfaction was building up on the 2021
About 10,000 people took to the streets in front of the National Palace all day on Saturday to protest corruption and a budget they say was negotiated and passed in secret by lawmakers.
The cost plan was approved before dawn on Wednesday. It also passed while the country was distracted by the effects of Hurricanes Eta and Iota, which brought torrential rains to much of Central America.
“I feel like our future is being stolen. We don’t see change, it can’t go on like this,” said Mauricio Ramirez, a 20-year-old university student.
The fire in the Congress building initially appeared to have affected the legislature, not the main congress hall. Protesters also set fire to some bus stations.
President Alejandro Giamati condemned the fires on Twitter.
“Anyone who is proven to have been involved in criminal acts will be punished with the full force of the law.” He wrote that he defended the right of people to protest, “but we cannot allow people to vandalize public or private property. . “
CANADA PLACES LARGEST CITY UNDER “LOCK” FOR AT LEAST 28 DAYS AMONG CORONAVIRUS
The protesters were also upset by recent actions by the country’s supreme court and chief prosecutor, which they saw as attempts to undermine the fight against corruption.
Vice President Guillermo Castillo offered to resign, telling Jamati that both men should step down “for the good of the country.” Castillo also proposed a veto on the approved budget, layoffs of government officials and attempts at more scope in various sectors in the country.
Castillo said he would not resign alone.
Click here to get the FOX NEWS app
Guatemalan Catholic Church leaders on Friday also called on Jamati to veto the budget.
“It was an insidious blow to the people because Guatemala was in the midst of natural disasters, there are signs of corruption in the government, clientelism in humanitarian aid,” said Jordan Rhodes, the country’s human rights prosecutor.
He said the budget seems to favor ministries that have historically been hot spots of corruption.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.